The Summer of Awesome – Day 11

At this point, I am just about 1/3rd of the way through The Book of Awesome. I’m probably going to start running out of stuff to say soon enough…

(61) The first scoop out of a jar of peanut butter (pg 117)

Oh, well, I haven’t run out of things to say here!

I used to love peanut butter. It was toasty, tasty and still relatively healthy compared to other snack foods.

BUT THEN…

Around 2011, my allergies started to get weirdly out of control. I’ve always had allergies – trees, pollen, dust, some foods. Suddenly, as of this year, I was getting itchy all the time and headaches and sinus pains much too frequently. I knew I had sinus issues, sure, but this was too often. And then the worst happened…

I found out I was allergic to apples. My favourite fruit, that which everyone associated with ME, and I was allergic to it!

From there it was a steady fall of other fruits – peaches…pears…plums…pineapple…

Then other foods – shrimp, mushrooms, zucchinis, cashews, almonds, pecans and yes…peanuts.

I am very fortunate to not be anaphylactic at this stage, but it has reached the point where I can’t even have regular – non-peanut, just chocolate – M&Ms because my throat starts feeling bruised and swollen.

Allergies are thought to be cyclical, so there’s a chance I might not always have them, but I’ve been having allergy injections for about two years now and I still have had pretty severe reactions, so it’s not something I like to risk. (I can’t even go near apple trees or orchards because I start to react – I even had a reaction walking by some in our kitchen one time.)

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Hooray for peanut-free, but look what other food just happens to be on this label… -_-

So, with all this on my plate (or, that is to say, not on my plate) – I am relegated to eating soy nut butter. Namely – as seen to the right – WOW Butter.

And lemme tell ya, it’s okay as a substitute, the consistency is close, as is the look, so you don’t feel so left out on the peanut butter front… but it’s still not peanut butter.

I have yet to find anything aside from Wow Butter that I can actually eat and even that I shouldn’t have to often because it’s made of soy and apparently it’s easy to become sensitive to soy too…

I have tried Sunflower Seed Butter, but it’s not creamy and doesn’t taste anywhere close to the deliciousness of peanut butter.

I am very jealous of people without allergies! I would even settle for just the peanut allergy as long as I could have other nuts – almond butter and almond milk and the like seem like fine substitutes to have!

Alas, I guess those things are just not meant for me…

(62) Hearing a stranger fart in public (pg 119)

Honestly.

What am I supposed to say about this one??

It is pretty funny, I’ll give you that. Sometimes it’s mortifying, though, and you feel so bad for that person. Actually, you know what this makes me think of – that German word that means you feel embarrassed for someone else’s embarrassment.

Ah, here it is:

fremdschämen

That’s me. That’s how other people’s public farts make me feel.

(63) Perfectly toasted toast (pg 122)

Photo 2017-08-01, 10 42 48 AM.jpg

This. This is my perfect toast.

To some of you, this is probably WAY under-toasted to be a good piece of toast and some of you will think it’s even too toasted. The point is – we all have our ideal and I can bet no two people have the exact same version of perfection.

Even when it comes to what you put on your toast – what does everyone prefer?

As you’ve seen above, I eat Wow Butter, so my current favourite of late is slathered in Wow Butter, with a bit of raw honey. On the days when I am trying not to have too much Wow Butter, some regular butter and honey, or coconut oil and honey are good too. If I could still have peanut butter, I’m sure that’d win out though!

(64) When someone unjams the photocopier for you (pg 123)

These angels, who come along and do this are a GOD-SEND! I am glad now that I have had a ton of experience with a variety of photocopiers at my various jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities over the years because at first they were just so intimidating.

The intimidation factor goes up when you consider that photocopiers in this day and age aren’t just about photos or copying, they have all this newfangled computerized technology so you can email and scan and download your entire genetic makeup and life history (okay, maybe not that…yet).

About 4 years ago, at one of my jobs, I realized something that I feel I ought to share with all of you, as a Public Service Announcement, just in case it ever happens to you:

Sometimes the “jam” isn’t a JAM at all! 

It’s the computer memory thinking it’s a jam

…but there’s nothing at all in the way!

For a good half hour, my coworker and I ripped apart our photocopier, trying to find where the pesky piece of paper had gotten lodged. We literally pulled out EVERY paper – all stacks, all loose sheets. We managed to find a moderately jammed piece of paper and got it out in one piece – not a single tiny corner left behind (sometimes those are the culprit that’ll ruin the whole thing!) and yet the screen kept flashing “Paper Jam.

She eventually gave up and went back to work, deciding she no longer had the time or patience for the infernal device, but I was determined.

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That’s right, you heard me you dang boxy robot (droid)!

I wasn’t about to let some boxy robot tell me what’s what!

After double checking all of the trays again, I started to wonder…

Wait a minute…

What if it wasn’t an issue with the photocopier itself, so much as it was the computer screen?

I scoured the photocopier for some sort of indication of the make and model, and managed to find a number I could search.

Sure enough, I found out that it was not uncommon for photocopiers, particularly of that make, to accidentally store when a jam had happened in its memory!

I found instructions to clear the memory and voila! Good as new.

This happened again recently on a different photocopier at a different work place, so it is much more common than you’d think. So the next time your photocopier is telling you it has a jam and you’re sure it doesn’t, heed my advice!

(65) Reading the nutritional label and eating it anyway (pg 124)

Sometimes, he’s right, you just have to live a little! It’s okay to take that chance every so often – so long as your personal health allows for it – but…it is a bit scary to look at something and see your ENTIRE’S DAY worth of sugar allotment.

(66) When you’re watching one of your favourite movies and you realize you don’t remember how it ends (pg 125)

I can’t see this ever happening – at least not with me. If a movie is a favourite, I will definitely remember what happens because that means I’ve watched it a billion times.

non-stop-movie-poster.jpgcan see it happening with a good movie that, maybe, I’ve only seen once. This actually did just happen a little while ago with my family and the Liam Neeson movie, Non-Stop.

We’d all seen it before, we’d all enjoyed it and yet, for the life of us, none of us could remember who the actual “bad guy” turned out to be.

We knew it wasn’t Liam Neeson, but it literally could have been anyone else.

And even though we’d seen it before, we were all gripped, trying to remember until the big reveal. (Just a note that my dad was right on with his guess.)

I find this is something that happens often too with shows like Law & Order, where you remember the episode is good, but you have no clue who actually did it. (That is, until they started to have a lot of famous and flashy guest starts, then it just turned into, “Oh, hey, *insert big name celebrity here* is guest-starring…They did it.” :p )

And that’s where we shall adjourn for today (that Law & Order bit and The People vs. OJ Simpson are getting too into my brain!)

 

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An aside: “The Happiness Equation,” the “Do Circle” and Fargo

Before I get back to The Book of Awesome today, I wanted to take a brief aside to talk about two other things:

(1) Neil Pasricha’s other book that I’ve also been reading, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

I am almost done this book, but I have felt a particular affinity for the chapter I just read and wanted to say something about it while it was fresh in my mind.

In his section “Secret #7“,” he delves into the idea that you can “Turn Your Biggest Fear into Your Biggest Success.”

At first, reading that, I was skeptical. Something the big wide world of the Internet may not (probably doesn’t) know about me – I have suffered with varying degrees of anxiety my whole life. I can remember some of my earliest bouts of anxiety with such clarity and when I’ve told friends about it now, they are always shocked to hear it because I’ve always seemed like such a together (their words) and calm (again, their words) person.

To me, I’ve never been either of those things.

Ever.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand anxiety (and specifically my anxiety) a lot more, but at the same time, I feel like mine has only gotten worse. I have a habit of being able to convince myself out of things more than I am able to convince myself into them.

That’s why I found this chapter so special. Neil Pasricha really pinpointed why it’s so hard to do that – because 90% of the time, we are trying to convince ourselves that we can do something or that we want to do said thing, instead of just going ahead, giving it a shot, and doing it.

Take writing, for example. Like I said before, I used to love to write. And when I was younger, I used to – for school, for friends and just for the hell of it. Convincing myself to actually start writing again, even to come back to this blog and actually put my thoughts and feelings out there, well… that’s been hard to do.

So, I stopped thinking about it, and just did it.

And now here I am, and here you are reading these rambles.

His “Do Circle” idea makes so much sense to me:

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If you swap it from a progression from “Can do” –> “Want to do” –> “Do” and make it into a circle, where you just start DOING and see where it takes you, it gets easier.

I had a revelation seeing this, and it helped me understand my adult self more than I thought it would. When I was younger, I would just do things. I even took to The Joker’s quote from The Dark Knight:

“You know what I am? I am a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! I just do things…”

Of course, in the context of The Joker – a psychopath – this is very dangerous, but for me, it just resonated with the fact that I used to just be willing to try things more often than not in my teens and early twenties. I still had anxiety, but I took more chances than I did as a child, or currently as a full-fledged adult.

I had started to feel like that desire to try things  was a weakness or vulnerability. That jumping head first into new things and taking chances left you open to things like failure, mistakes and mockery… When, honestly, as I read through this chapter, I realized, wait a minute. That’s not a weakness at all, that’s a strength. That’s what helps you get from “I can’t do this” or “This isn’t something I’d enjoy” to actually learning new things, seeing if you would like something you thought you wouldn’t and making the leap into a bigger, more full world.

Does that mean I am going to jump up this second and take swimming lessons like Neil Pasricha did, to conquer my fear of water?

No, probably not.

But it does mean that I am going to write more and share this post, which is pretty raw and vulnerable for me. (My insides are having a battle between “Nooo don’t share these thoughts with the world! What if people make comments or think weirdly of you” and “Go for it! The more you share your writing and feelings, the better you’ll feel about doing so more often!”)

So, I might still have anxiety to contend with in my life, but I am going to make a conscious effort to try more “DO” instead of more thinking, hemming-and-hawing, and convincing myself TO DO.

The second thing I wanted to briefly mention:

(2) Fargo: Season 3, starring Ewan McGregor

I love Ewan McGregor.

To anyone who knows me, this is the most obvious statement in the history of the world, but to anyone who doesn’t, that probably should be said. He is my favourite actor (aside from one other – also obvious – person), and has been for almost 20 years now.

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A photo that I actually saw online of me (girl in green taking a photo) and Ewan (obvious), ca. 2007, when I met him at the Toronto International Film Festival.

That being said, even I hadn’t watched Fargoyet… But that all changed yesterday, when – thanks to a marathon on TV – I binge-watched the first five episodes (I’ll be watching the last five today).

My love for Ewan, notwithstanding, he does a great a job playing Emmit and Ray Stussy – twin brothers who are very different from each other and, actually, who are even different from what I thought they’d be from commercials. At one point, he was talking to himself, and I forgot that they were both being played by Ewan McGregor (until he says “no” or “know” – then, despite his doing a good job hiding his accent everywhere else, he just sounds like his adorable Scottish self…)

My favourite actor, aside, I am actually even more into Carrie Coon‘s part of the story as Gloria, former police chief and step-daughter of the first homicide victim of the show (this season). I haven’t seen the movie Fargobut I did just watch The Big Lebowksi a few weeks ago and some scenes and moments in this season really reminded me of it, especially where the murder mystery and mixed-up identities are concerned.

Even though the show is only Executive Produced by the Coen Brothers and not directed or written by them, it does still feel very them (I’ve seen a few of their other movies on top of the The Big Lebowskiso I think I’ve started to get a feel for their style).

And now, the first of the five episodes for today should be done, so I am going to run off to watch that. I will be back later with more on The Book of Awesome!